Monday, May 28, 2007

The Curacao Cure - Part 12

Ariel view of Carácasbaai

Two more dives were made during our stay on Curacao. Here they are described by Curacao Actief:

Lost Anchor

Located at the western most point of Carácasbaai, this site is accessible from shore to the south of Jan Thiel, but due to a lengthy walk from the parking area and a rocky entry, we recommend making it a boat dive. The mooring is close to shore and tied to an old chain that runs from the shelf at 15 feet and disappears into the depths down the reef wall, dropping well below recreational limits.

Carácasbaai itself was created by an ancient landslide that left a monstrous gash in the seafloor. The bay is impressively deep, reaching 800 feet quite close to shore. Because of these great depths the site is often frequented by good sized deep water fish.

This is a grouper. Sean tells me that while they did not see any hammerheads, they frequently saw these.

The shallow area along the edge of the drop off is populated by healthy colonies of Pillar Coral and Pencil Coral, interspersed with Gorgonians waving in the current.

The coral growth is quite thick, and it’s worth taking some time to look for hidden Scorpionfish, Lobster, and Shrimp. Large Green Morays are also quite common in the area, often accompanied by a Scarlet-Striped Cleaning Shrimp removing harmful parasites. Follow the chain down the near perpendicular wall to find Black Coral, Brain Coral, and Star Coral. Both directions are nice, so just start your dive against the current and let yourself drift back until you spot the mooring chain. Don’t forget to look towards the depths, where Dolphinfish, Tarpon, Snappers, and even an occasional Hammerhead can be spotted.

Tug Boat Wreck

Located just beyond the Baya Beach Club on the southeast side of Caracasbaai, this quaint wreck dive can be accessed by shore or boat. Facilities include beach chairs, shade, bathrooms, a snack stand, and a full service dive shop. There's a small charge to park your car, and the dive shop charges divers an additional fee to dive from their beach. We recommend taking a few minutes to check out the remains of Fort Beekenburg just north of the beach. The shallow protected cove is an ideal spot for snorkelers and beginning divers, with little current and a wide variety of Gorgonians and Stony Corals.

Visibility is generally good, and the crevices in the rocks along the edge of the bay are inhabited by Morays and Lobster, while Peacock Flounder prefer to use their camouflage to hide out in the open. Schools of Needlefish circle the harbor near the surface, and large Barracuda can often be seen searching for an easy meal.

The big steel pillars are also worth exploring. Well encrusted with corals and sponges, look for Scorpionfish hiding in plain site. Experienced divers will want to spend some time on the wall before returning to enjoy the tugboat wreck. The wall starts about 150 yards from shore and drops steeply down below 100 feet. Head left and watch for current when you round the corner.

Don"t forget to save some air to take in the picturesque tugboat, located at the far left side of the cove, close to the rocks and immediately before the drop off. The 30 foot wreck is in one piece and sits right side up in 20 feet of water; it can be enjoyed by snorkelers and divers alike.

After three decades beneath the sea, it is fully encrusted with nice formations of Brain Coral, Star Coral, Sponges, and dozens of resident Christmas Tree Worms. Accustomed to being fed, the area is teaming with bold fish, including large Parrotfish, Sergeant Majors, and Yellowtail Snappers. Make sure to bring your camera, as this site offers some unique photo opportunities.

Two white spotted file fish

A cuttle fish


Shaney said...

Even though I could never 'dive' through my fear of having to rely on a device to keep my breathing lol The one thing I would love to do is 'wreck' diving...I think in a past life I might have a been a treasure hunter becasue I love any documentary or movie that revolves around the subject...
P.s There are some scary marine creatures down there in them deep waters...

Sue said...

Yeah Shaney, but you could still snorkel. You would not believe how much can be seen with a snorkel.